Lenovo is unveiling a version of its ThinkPad W700 mobile workstation at the upcoming CES expo that will incorporate a second, 10.6-inch LCD display into the laptop, allowing users to have a workstation notebook with dual-monitor support.
The Lenovo ThinkPad W700ds-the “ds” is short for “dual-screen”-will debut at the start of CES, Jan. 5. While Lenovo had been waiting for the show to make the announcement, details about the new mobile workstation began leaking out Dec. 18 and 19 on sites such as Engadget.
In August, Lenovo launched the original W700 workstation with a single, 17-inch display and the company is planning to market both versions of its mobile workstation to professional photographers, graphic artists and others working in CAD fields.
In addition to the secondary screen, Lenovo is offering users the option of ordering the ThinkPad W700ds with a less expensive Intel Core 2 Quad processor running at 2.26GHz and built on the newer 45-nanometer manufacturing process. When the original ThinkPad W700 came out earlier in 2008, Lenovo only offered the mobile workstation with an Intel Core 2 Extreme X9300 chip.
What is unique about this particular workstation is the 10.6-inch, WXGA (768 by 1280) secondary display. Engineers added about 10 millimeters of thickness on to the original W700 design to incorporate the horizontal display, which is about the size of the screens commonly used with mini-notebooks and some “netbooks.”
The goal was to allow users to bring the dual-display setup that they have in the office to the home or out on the road, said Wes Williams, a Lenovo segment manager.
Details of the ThinkPad W700ds
“People that use high-end computers, whether they are professional photographers or work in other fields, all use two displays at their desktops,” Williams said. “What we were trying to do in building a mobile workstation is give them the same experience. Not only do you need a great display, great graphics, great processor and RAID hard drive with a workstation, but it is hard going back to a single display mode.”
In creating the ThinkPad W700ds, Lenovo engineers went through four or five different design concepts for the secondary display before settling on what Williams called the “pocket door” configuration. This allows engineers to house the spring-loaded secondary display within the main display’s casing.
The design allowed Lenovo to keep costs down without adding a significant amount of weight or increasing the overall thickness of the workstation. Overall, the secondary display adds about 2 pounds of weight to the workstation. The secondary screen angles 30 degrees to recreate a dual-display setup typically found with a standard desktop workstation.
While the starting price of the Lenovo ThinkPad W700 is currently about $2,500, the second display will add about $500 to the base cost. An official starting price has not been set.
The Lenovo ThinkPad W700ds offers the same type of features found in the original W700, including an Nvidia Quadro FX 3700M graphics processor, 8GB of DDR3 (double data rate 3) RAM and dual integrated hard disk drives that can be configured in a RAID array. The mobile workstation still uses about 75 watts of power and gets about 2 hours of battery life, although if a user runs the display at half brightness, the battery life extends to 3.5 hours.
The ThinkPad W700 also features three video ports that support dual-link DVI (Digital Video Interactive), Display Port and VGA, which allows for multiple displays when using a docking station.
The Lenovo W700ds supports different versions of Microsoft Windows XP and Vista and it will support Windows 7 in the future. Lenovo also supports several Linux operating systems, including Red Hat and Ubuntu.